WEST HAMLIN — The West Hamlin United Methodist Church is working to break barriers and provide a community space with its HOPE Center.
The project was first started in 2016 with the clean up and creation of the adjacent park, which formerly housed a ball field.
“It’s designed not only for children to have a place to play and enjoy the community,” said project manager Clayton Alford. “It’s also a place for volunteers and seniors who just need a way to mingle with the community in a common place for them to gather.”
The park includes a walking trail around the field with raised garden beds for public use. The creation of the park sparked an idea for the new building.
“The center has a lot of different parts to it,” Alford said. “Hopefully everything will eventually all come together and mingle and be of benefit not only to our church, but to our community.”
The building consists of three floors with rooms for various purposes. Included inside the center are a commercial kitchen, restrooms with showers, storage space for emergency supplies, a large room utilized by 4-H and an open area that will house many different functions.
Also included in the center will be various rooms for emergency shelter as well as to house service groups that come into the area and looking to house some new organizations interested in coming to Lincoln.
“Primarily we have hosted a group called Youth Works that (has been coming) here for about 20 to 25 years,” Alford said. “Usually there’s anywhere from 50 to 75 who come for eight weeks.”
Alford said while the project will never truly be finished, the hope is to have some additional areas open and functional within the coming weeks.
Alford said the project is a way for West Hamlin United Methodist to extend out of its doors to meet the needs of the local community and county.
“We want to eventually have something going almost every day,” Alford said.
The HOPE Center has been funded through grants and private donations.